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Letter to the editor

'Plan to address needs, not wants'

February 02, 2011 - Dear editor,

Exceptionalism. To me it's a word that not only defines our community, but also our schools. When deciding where my wife and I wanted to raise our children, we chose Lake Orion 13 years ago, and it's been one of the best decisions of our life. Our three daughters have received an education second to none.

We have also had the incredible opportunity to become part of a community that has more of a small town community feel, than a suburban metropolis. There is something magical about coming to Dragon's Stadium on Friday night and seeing friends from the neighborhood, church, and school all rallying for a common goal.

We have been hit hard over the last five years with jobs lost, declining home values, and tough financial decisions to make. And our schools have not been immune. Funding from the State has been cut. Lake Orion Community Schools have reacted and made cuts to the tune of over $10 million. Now we are faced with a bond election question on Feb. 22.

The bond, if passed, will fund technology upgrades, building upgrades and refurbishment, enhance safety and security, and replace aging busses. As a conservative, I typically would not vote to increase my tax burden, but I will be voting YES on Feb. 22 and here's why:

1. What is being proposed is a very reasonable plan to address needs, not wants. If you read through the preliminary bond applications (on the LO Schools website), you will see necessary upgrades to 14 buildings in the district.

2. We need technology in our district. If you know a student at the high school, ask them the state of technology in their building. Not only are we behind already, but are unable to take advantage of new avenues to teach our children. The way our children learn is changing.

3. I believe what we pay for the bond will more than come back to us by way of property values. There have been several studies that directly relate property values to quality of schools. There are examples that support this right here in Oakland County.

In November, we watched with pride as our Dragons claimed their first (of many) state championships in a victory for our entire community. Let's win one more for Lake Orion on Feb.22 Vote YES.

-Chris Barnett

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